Expectations too high maybe?

There was a lot of expectation around the Lane today amid a game that was certainly going to be the first real test of the Pochettino era. Some of that expectation was probably far too high given that we have only really played some pretty poor teams thus far. There was also the fear that there would be a massive knee jerk if the result was a heavy defeat for a team unchanged from the one that defeated Queens Park rangers with some style.

Liverpool, without Suarez would surely be a weakened side was one thought , totally ignoring the return of Balotelli but also ignoring the fact that this is a Tottenham way that is only a couple of months old. Not a couple of seasons in the case of the Rodgers method already a subject of its own book.

Early in the game we made the sort of defensive errors that we should all be used to by now. Fortunately, Super Mario had left his shooting boots on the continent but more defensive frailties allowed Liverpool to take the lead when Sterling put the ball in the net on 21 minutes. The signs were not good but against the odds Spurs found some of their fluency and could easily have been level, or even ahead, but for Adebayors header going over and a cruel bounce in front of Nacer Chadli just as he lined up to strike the ball.

At Half time there was a consensus in my part of the ground that we could get a result of some sort but it all went wrong very early in the second half. Joe Allen burst into the box, Eric Dier stuck out an arm and Joe Allen went down to be granted the softest penalty you are likely to see this season.. For me it was indicative of how the cheats in the game have won the battle with weak referees in that the merest of touches elicits a theatrical tumble to gain a foul whilst later on in the game (after it was well and truly lost it must be said) cheating of a different nature went unpunished as Adebayor had his shirt nearly ripped off his back as he jumped for a header in the Liverpool penalty area.

The penalty against us knocked any fight we might have had out of us and the introduction of Andros Townsend could not stop Alberto Moreno dispossessing him (with the aid of another slight tug of the shirt) and marauding unchallenged for half the length of the pitch to shoot low past Lloris in the Spurs goal.

A 3-0 defeat then and what appears at first glance to be a display of our limitations but for twenty minutes at the end of the first half we matched Liverpool and created good chances but Liverpool have been playing this system a lot longer than us. The European factor has not kicked in for them yet (and I still think that will be a significant factor in their season) and some players were playing as if they were unsure of who they will be playing their next game for. Tomorrow night we will know the shape of the squads and Pochettino will know what he actually have to work with until January. Dier will learn that he will have to be careful of who he touches when defending and we as supporters may learn not to expect too much this early in reign of our new regime.

Let’s at least see what tomorrow brings before the knees start jerking too much.

 

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It was only QPR

‘”It was only QPR” is a comment I have seen around the web and in other more old fashioned media today and whilst that is true to an extent, it does seem to me that some Spurs fans are not even happy when we play well. It’s as if they are not happy unless they have something to moan about, so is it any wonder that Spurs fans have a reputation for being fickle?

Whilst I do not intend to follow every match with a match report (I simply do not have the time) I will from time to time highlight things that I glean from our performances, and usually after the knee jerk thoughts have completely dissipated from my alcohol befuddled brain (The American Black IPA was ‘interesting’).

The initial knee jerk thoughts after yesterday tended to be of the ‘wow – wasn’t that great’ variety as opposed to the ‘Oh My God – Sack the Manager/players/board’ variety so often seen in recent years. After taking a bit of time to digest what we saw I come to the conclusion that it was one of the best team performances I’d seen at the Lane for a few years despite only being against a favourite for relegation.

There were many positives in the performance but one or two worries as well. We will not have many games that seem as easy as that but are we maybe doing QPR a bit of a disservice in saying that. Had Phllips equalised when Kaboul allowed him the space the game might have been different. I suspect we would still have won but maybe not so easily. That we allowed a good chance so soon after taking the lead is one area of concern. A lapse of concentration like that against one of the big teams could be very costly.

Another area of concern was how we took the foot off the pedal in the second half. That was partly because Harry changed to a more familiar 4-5-1 instead of the 3 at the back he employed in the first half, and also because we did seem to tire as the game went on. Early season fitness issues are always going to play a part when you play the game the way Pochettino wants us to. It was certainly an issue for Southampton in matches last season and with us playing two games a week (some of which will be in far flung countries no one has heard of if UEFA gets their way) it could be an issue as the season wears on.

Generally though, the performance should be summed up with Nacer Chadli’s second goal. Without wishing to glorify stats in any way the stats around hat goal tell a very pleasing story. 48 passes (two minutes of possession) in the build up to what was really a simple cross and header. If you get the chance I would urge you to watch that two minute passage of play as it shows what Pochettino is all about.

Win the ball back near the halfway line then knock the ball around retaining possession whilst looking to break with pace. If there is no easy route play the ball back and come again. Players moving and making themselves available for the ball (Capoue had 14 touches in that 48 pass sequence in different parts of the pitch). Players covering for each other so there was always defensive cover should you lose the ball or a choice of options for the player on the ball.

There was more movement in that two minutes than I have witnessed at the Lane for a long time and that bodes well for the future. Keep playing the game in this manner and it could be a very entertaining nine months.

But hey – it was only QPR apparently

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